At the end of November 2011 there were panicky headlines saying Ivory Coast Claims Ghana’s Oil Fields. This was not the first time. The claim had been published much earlier in the year and on examination it appeared more alarmist than serious at that time.

Map of Dzata oil field off Cape Three Points Ghana and Ghana offshore oil.

The more recent November reports in the newspapers were based on actions and claims made by Ivory Coast at the 18th Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town between Nov. 2-4, and reported in Africa Energy Intelligence #663 in November. Africa Energy Intelligence requires a subscription. The report was repeated in Connectionivoirienne.net.

What follows is a google translation that includes the information from Africa Energy Intelligence N°663:

The oil war between Ghana and the Ivory Coast will she be?
Posted by The Editor · Connectionivoirienne.net
November 10, 2011 at 22:30

Tension mounts for the control of the offshore -

Read for yourself in the Intelligent d’Abidjan -

The 18th edition of the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town (from 2 to 4 November was an opportunity for the director of oil from Ivory Coast, Ibrahim Diaby, and the CEO of Petroc, Daniel Gnangni to present the new map of oil blocks in the country. A notable change has been introduced: five new licenses, ranging from CI 540 to 544, were drawn to the east of the Ivorian waters. These boundaries are superimposed on several blocks in Ghana, including Deepwater Tano, where Tullow Oil has made significant discoveries in 2008 and 2009, with Tweneboa and Enyenra. These two fields are already in a phase of development. Ghanaian ministers, including that of justice, march in Abidjan since September to try to clear the record. A document from the Ministry of Petroleum and Petroc was sent in early October to fourteen opéraeurs in territorial waters and the main Ivorian embassy to explain the position of the country. Requested by Africa Energy Intelligence, executives Ivorian Ministry of Energy indicate that for several decades, Côte d’Ivoire Ghana tries to associate the delimitation of the maritime boundary, but no agreement has never been reached. In Abidjan, Accra took advantage of the political crisis that has prevailed in Côte d’Ivoire since 2002 to allocate blocks in the disputed area of ​​the offshore, particularly in Tullow. After trying to open talks, the president Alassane Ouattara now wants to force his neighbor to negotiate as soon as possible, that is to say, before Tweneboa and Enyenra come into production. Source: Africa Energy Intelligence

In the reports that came out the beginning of March, the oil companies dismissed the Ivory Coast claims.

Dzata 1 oil well is within Ghana’s boundary – Vanco Oil


The Chief Operating Officer of Vanco Limited, J.L Mitchell, operators of the Dzata- 1 Well, located offshore Ghana, in the Tano basin of the Cape three points Deep Water Block, has told Citi News that their block is well within the maritime boundaries of Ghana.

According to him, Vanco has no concern at all over reports that neighboring Ivory Coast is making claims for some parts of Ghana’s maritime Boundary.

… the Dzata Well is over 200 kilometers away from Ghana’s maritime boundary with cote-d’Ivoire.

“It’s very far; 200 kilometres away from the maritime boundaries and it doesn’t affect us one way or the other…It is well within the Ghanaian maritime boundary,” he said.

Jubilee field is the closest oil field to the Ivoirian border, and it is still 60 miles east of that border.

My conclusion then was that if the oil companies were not worried, there was no reason to worry. They would have determined these issues for themselves, to secure their investment before drilling.

More recently, in November it sounded as if the oil companies might be saying something different.

Ivory Coast Claims Ghana’s Oil Fields November 30 2011


Texas-based oil explorer, Kosmos Energy has expressed fears about the development. The oil producer says the future of a portion of its license in the Deepwater Tano Block is uncertain as the issue remains unresolved. Kosmos fears that if changes are made to the maritime boundary demarcation between Ghana and Ivory Coast, it may lose some of its license. It has 18% stake in the Deepwater Tano block in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Dzata-1 well and the Deepwater Tano fall within the same boundary. Currently Ghana is the rightful owner of the area, but Ivory Coast has petitioned the United Nations to demarcate the Ivorian territorial maritime boundary with Ghana. Even though the two countries met in April 2010 for negotiations on the matter, Kosmos says the results of the meeting were not announced and the issue remains unresolved at present.

“Uncertainty remains with regard to the outcome of the boundary demarcation between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and we do not know if the maritime boundary will change, therefore affecting our rights to explore and develop our discoveries or prospects within such areas”, the Warburg Pincus and Blackstone Group (BX) backed company said in a filing form to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on April 25, 2011.

I wondered if the oil companies were leaning on Ghana in order to extract more profit. And I wondered if the US government might be behind that as well. As the wikileaks have shown us, most US diplomacy seeks to advantage US corporations. I was also certain Sarkozy was supporting Ouattara’s attempts to claim Ghana’s oil.

Sarkozy and Ouattara puppet

In looking for more news of the oil and border issue I found nothing new. So I checked the financial news associated with the oil companies going back through 2011, Tullow and Kosmos.

Barclays upgraded Kosmos in December 2011.
Ghana Jubilee oilfield partners buy FPSO vessel in January 2012.
Tullow aims for 120,000 bpd from Ghana early 2012 in December 2011.
These were the recent financial stories concerning Ghana, no worries here about boundary disputes with Ivory Coast. If the border dispute was a threat to the companies, it would show up in the financial news. The fact that there is no mention of the border issue leads me to think it is mostly a non-issue. At this point I believe Ouattara would like to stir up trouble in Ghana for President Mills (Ouattara holds a grudge for his perception of post election events) and both he and Sarkozy are greedy for oil. But Ghana does not really have much to worry about on this score. There is not that much to dispute about the border that will cause any problems with oil companies and oil licenses, though the border agreements do need to be finalized.

oil

Thabo Mbeki writes What the World Got Wrong in Côte D’Ivoire. He asks:

Why is the United Nations entrenching former colonial powers on our continent? Africans can and should take the lead in resolving their own disputes.

Gbagbo greets Mbeki during negotiations in Ivory Coast

The second round of the Nov. 28, 2010, presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire pitted against each other two long-standing political opponents, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. For this reason, and of strategic importance, it was inevitable that this electoral contest would decide the long-term future of the country. Everybody concerned should have probed very seriously the critical question: Would the 2010 elections create the conditions that would establish the basis for the best possible future for the Ivorian people?

Rather, the international community insisted that what Côte d’Ivoire required to end its crisis was to hold democratic elections, even though the conditions did not exist to conduct such elections. Though they knew that this proposition was fundamentally wrong, the Ivorians could not withstand the international pressure to hold the elections.

However, the objective reality is that the Ivorian presidential elections should not have been held when they were held. It was perfectly foreseeable that they would further entrench the very conflict it was suggested they would end.

The 2002 rebellion in Côte d’Ivoire divided the country into two parts, with the north controlled by the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which supported Alassane Ouattara, and the south in the hands of the Gbagbo-led government. Since then, Côte d’Ivoire has had two governments, administrations, armies, and “national” leaders.

Any elections held under these circumstances would inevitably entrench the divisions and animosities represented and exacerbated by the 2002 rebellion.

The structural faults which lay at the base of the 2002 rebellion include such inflammable issues as trans-national tensions affecting especially Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, Ivorian ethnic and religious antagonisms, sharing of political power, and access to economic and social power and opportunities.

In this regard, the international community has assiduously suppressed proper appreciation of various explosive allegations which, rightly or wrongly, have informed and will continue to inform the views of the Gbagbo-supporting population in southern Côte d’Ivoire — and much of Francophone Africa!

These are that Ouattara is a foreigner born in Burkina Faso, that together with Burkinabè President Blaise Compaoré he was responsible for the 2002 rebellion, that his accession to power would result in the takeover of the country especially by Burkinabè foreigners, and that historically, to date, he has been ready to advance French interests in Côte d’Ivoire.

Taking all this into account, the African Union understood that a lasting solution of the Ivorian crisis necessitated a negotiated agreement between the two belligerent Ivorian factions, focused on the interdependent issues of democracy, peace, national reconciliation and unity.

In protracted negotiations from 2002, the Ivorians agreed that the presidential elections would not be held until various conditions had been met. These included the reunification of the country, the restoration of the national administration to all parts of the Ivorian territory, and the disarmament of the rebels and all militia and their integration in the national security machinery, with the latter process completed at least two months ahead of any presidential elections. Despite the fact that none of this was honoured, the presidential elections were allowed to proceed.

In the end, Ouattara has been installed as president of Côte d’Ivoire. Gbagbo, and his wife Simone, have ended up as humiliated prisoners. Many Ivorians have died and have been displaced, much infrastructure has been destroyed, and historic animosities have been exacerbated in the lead up to this outcome.

Many things have gone radically wrong along the road to this result.

Agreements relating to what needed to be done to create conditions for free and fair elections were wilfully and contemptuously ignored. The Ivorian Constitutional Council (CC) is the only body constitutionally empowered to determine the winner in any presidential election and to install the president, with the Electoral Commission (IEC) mandated to forward its provisional results to the CC. However, the very people who insist on the sanctity of the rule of law as fundamental to all democratic practice, elected illegally to recognise the provisional result announced by the chairperson of the IEC on his own, as the authentic outcome of the presidential election.

As provided by the law, Gbagbo contested the fairness of the elections in certain parts of the country, especially the north. The CC, rightly or wrongly, accepted the majority of the complaints made by Gbagbo, identified other “irregularities,” annulled the votes in some districts, and declared Gbagbo the victor. The chairperson of the IEC did not take these alleged irregularities into account and decided that Ouattara had won.

The envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, his fellow South Korean, SRSG Young-jin Choi, also determined that Ouattara had won, but on the basis of fewer votes than those announced by the IEC, having determined that some of the complaints made by Gbagbo were legitimate. In terms of the votes cast for the two candidates, the IEC, the CC, and the U.N. SRSG made three different determinations.

Gbagbo proposed that to resolve this matter, which bears on the important issue of the will of the Ivorian people, an international commission should be established to verify the election results, with the important pre-condition that both he and Ouattara should accept the determination of the commission.

This proposal was rejected by the international community — despite the fact that it would have resolved the electoral dispute without resort to war, and despite the fact that some election observers questioned the fairness of the elections, especially in northern Côte d’Ivoire.

For instance, reporting on the elections in the north, the election observer mission of the AU led by Joseph Kokou Kofigoh, former prime minister of Togo, the independent civil society Societé Civile Africaine pour la Democratie et l’Assistance Electoral led by Seynabou Indieguene of Senegal, and the Coordination of African Election Experts (CAEE) from Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Mali, Morocco, Gabon, and Togo led by Jean-Marie Ongjibangte of Cameroon, all sounded the alarm about the elections in the north.

For instance, the CAEE said: “After sharing information with other national and international election observers, we hereby state that the second round of the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire was held amidst major problems in (various northern) regions…

“These problems were stealing of ballot boxes, arresting of candidates’ representatives, multiple voting, refusal to admit international observers to witness counting of ballots, and the murder of representatives of candidates. To that effect, we hereby declare that the second round of voting was not free, fair and transparent in these (northern) localities.”

For its part, to this day, the ECOWAS election observer mission has not issued its report on the second round of the presidential election! Why?

Clearly the independent international commission proposed by Laurent Gbagbo could have been established and empowered to make a definitive and binding determination about what had happened. Time will tell why this was not done!

Further, the U.N. SRSG took the extraordinary decision to exceed his mandate by declaring who had won the presidential election, contrary to his tasks as detailed by the Security Council. This positioned the U.N. Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) as a partisan in the Ivorian conflict, rather than a neutral peacemaker, equidistant from the belligerent parties.

From this point onwards, UNOCI had no choice but actively to work for the installation of Ouattara as president of the country and the removal of Gbagbo. Ultimately, this found expression in the blatant use of its military capacities to open the way for the Forces Nouvelles to defeat the Gbagbo forces and capture Gbagbo, under the shameless pretence that it was acting to protect civilians.

While obliged to respect its peacekeeping mandate, which included keeping the belligerent forces apart, UNOCI did nothing to stop the advance of the Forces Nouvelles from the north to the south, including and up to Abidjan. Nor did UNOCI or the French Licorne forces, as mandated by the United Nations, act to protect civilians in the area of Duékoué, where, evidently, the most concentrated murder of civilians took place! This recalls the United Nations’s failure to end the more catastrophic murder and abuse of civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo!

The Ivorian reality points to a number of incontrovertible conclusions.

The agreed conditions for the holding of democratic elections in Côte d’Ivoire were not created. Despite strong allegations of electoral fraud, the international community decided against conducting any verification of the process and the announced results. This left unanswered the vitally important question of who actually had won the elections, which Ouattara might have done.

The United Nations elected to abandon its neutrality as a peacemaker, deciding to be a partisan belligerent in the Ivorian conflict.

France used its privileged place in the Security Council to position itself to play an important role in determining the future of Côte d’Ivoire, its former colony in which, inter alia, it has significant economic interests. It joined the United Nations to ensure that Ouattara emerged as the victor in the Ivorian conflict.

This addressed the national interests of France, consistent with its Françafrique policies, which aim to perpetuate a particular relationship with its former African colonies. This is in keeping with remarks made by former French President François Mitterand when he said, “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century,” which former French foreign minister Jacques Godfrain confirmed when he said: “A little country [France], with a small amount of strength, we can move a planet because [of our]…relations with 15 or 20 African countries…”

The AU is also not without blame, as it failed to assert itself to persuade everybody to work to achieve reconciliation among the Ivorians, and therefore durable peace. Tragically, the outcome that has been achieved in Côte d’Ivoire further entrenches the endemic conflict in this country.  This is because it has placed in the exclusive hands of the failed rebellion of 2002 the ability to determine the future of the country, whereas the objective situation dictated and dictates that the people of Côte d’Ivoire should engage one another as equals to determine their shared destiny.

During the decade he served as president of Côte d’Ivoire, Gbagbo had no possibility to act on his own to reunify the country and achieve reconciliation among its diverse people, despite the existence of negotiated agreements in this regard. As he serves as president of the country, Ouattara will not succeed to realise these objectives, acting on his own, outside the context of honest agreement with the sections of the Ivorian population represented by Gbagbo.

What was to come was foreseen by the then U.S. ambassador in Côte d’Ivoire, Wanda L. Nesbitt. In July 2009, she advised the U.S. government:

“It now appears that the Ouaga IV agreement, [the fourth agreement to the Ouagadougou Political Agreement which prescribed that disarmament should precede the elections], is fundamentally an agreement between Blaise Compaore [President of Burkina Faso] and Laurent Gbagbo to share control of the north until after the presidential election, despite the fact that the text calls for the Forces Nouvelles to return control of the north to the government and complete disarmament two months before the election…

“But the 5,000 Forces Nouvelles soldiers who are to be “disarmed” and regrouped into barracks in four key cities in the north and west until a new national army is created, represent a serious military capability that the FAFN [Forces Nouvelles] intends to keep well-trained and in reserve until after the election. The hand-over of administrative power from the FAFN to civilian government authorities is a pre-requisite for elections but, as travelers to the north (including Embassy personnel) confirm: the FAFN retain de-facto control of the region especially when it comes to finances.”

The failure to address the “pre-requisite for elections” predetermined their outcome. The rebel “control” of the north, mentioned by Ambassador Nesbitt, prescribed the outcome of the 2010 presidential election. Similarly, it was the “military capability” of the rebellion, which Ambassador Nesbitt mentioned, that was used to ensure that Ouattara became president of Côte d’Ivoire.

It is little wonder that as the post-election crisis deepened, Laurent Gbagbo would cry out: I was betrayed!

At the end of it all, there are many casualties.

One of these is the African Union. The tragic events in Côte d’Ivoire have confirmed the marginalization of the union in its ability to resolve the most important African challenges.

Instead, the AU has asserted the ability of the major powers to intervene to resolve these challenges by using their various capacities to legitimize their actions by persuading the United Nations to authorise their self-serving interventions.

The United Nations is yet another casualty. It has severely undermined its acceptability as a neutral force in the resolution of internal conflicts, such as the one in Côte d’Ivoire. It will now be difficult for the United Nations to convince Africa and the rest of the developing world that it is not a mere instrument in the hands of the world’s major powers. This has confirmed the urgency of the need to restructure the organisation, based on the view that as presently structured the United Nations has no ability to act as a truly democratic representative of its member states.

Thus, in various ways, the events in Côte d’Ivoire could serve as a defining moment in terms of the urgent need to reengineer the system of international relations. They have exposed the reality of the balance and abuse of power in the post-Cold War era, and put paid to the fiction that the major powers respect the rule of law in the conduct of international relations, even as defined by the U.N. Charter, and that, as democrats, they respect the views of the peoples of the world.

We can only hope that Laurent and Simone Gbagbo and the Ivorian people do not continue to suffer as abused and humiliated victims of a global system which, in its interests, while shouting loudly about universal human rights, only seeks to perpetuate the domination of the many by the few who dispose of preponderant political, economic, military and media power.

The perverse and poisonous proceedings that have afflicted Côte d’Ivoire pose the urgent question: How many blatant abuses of power will Africa and the rest of the developing world experience before the vision of a democratic system of global governance is realised?

________

Gambia coat of arms

The government of the Gambia refuses to recognize the Ouattara government in Ivory Coast.

Gambia Government’s position on the tragedy in Cote D’Ivoire or Ivory Coast

The events in Ivory Coast have vindicated us on our earlier assertion that Western Neo colonialist sponsored agents in Africa that owe allegiance only to themselves and their Western Masters are ready to walk on thousands of dead bodies to the Presidency. This is what is happening in Ivory Coast.

Africans should not only wake up, but should stand up to the new attempts to re-colonise Africa through so called elections that are organized just to fool the people since the true verdict of the people would not be respected if it does not go in favour of the Western Backed Candidates as has happened in Cote D’Ivoire and elsewhere in Africa.

What is really sinister and dangerous about the neo colonialist threat is that they are ready to use brute force, or carry out outrageous massacres to neutralize any form of resistance to the Western selected President as has happened in Cote D’Ivoire

In Ivory Coast, we know the role played by the former Colonial power who, outside of the UN Mandate, first Bombarded the Presidential Palace for Days and eventually stormed it through a tunnel that links the Presidential Palace to one of the residences of their diplomatic representative.

The reasons for the bombardment of the Presidential Palace prior to the raid was according to them; to prevent Gbagbo using heavy weapons against civilians! But both the UN and France were aware of the outrageous massacres of civilians, entire villages that supported President Laurent Gbagbo were wiped out by the so called republican forces fighting for Ouatarra. Were Gbagbo supporters not supposed to be protected by both the UN and French Forces against Massacres?

These so called republican forces that were supposed to be fighting for Democracy, ended up killing thousands with impunity and are now engaged in massive looting!

Our position is very clear. The case of Laurent Gbagbo is a replica of the Case of Patrice Lumumba who; as a a Freedom Fighter for the dignity and Independence of not only Congolese people but the entire black race was overthrown by Western powers including the UN, and handed over to his sworn enemies to be murdered.

History is repeating itself as the same Neocolonial forces that overthrew Patrice Lumumba, captured him and handed him over to his enemies almost fifty years ago; are the same forces involved in the Ivory Coast with the only difference being that it is now a different former colonial power.

If justice is to be done, there should be an impartial and comprehensive investigation into all the atrocities carried out in Ivory Coast by a team of honest and decent Allah fearing people. Alassan Ouatarra and his forces cannot go scot free and blame everything on President Laurent Gbagbo who according to the Ivorian Constitution is the legitimate President of Ivory Coast. This team should be selected by the Non Align Movement.

One is tempted to ask this Question:

How is it possible that the verdict of the constitutional council that decided on who won the elections in some Francophone African Countries recently were accepted: that is after the election in Ivory Coast but that of The Ivorian Constitution Council was rejected by both the Western powers and the UN?

As far as we are concerned, the only solution to avert a long drawn-out civil War with all its attendant consequences in Ivory Coast is to reorganize Presidential elections in the shortest possible time. In the meantime an interim Government of National Unity should be formed without Alassan Ouatarra; as he also has a lot to answer for as well.

One thing is very clear to all Africans today – the plot to recolonise Africa is very real and we must stand up to it.

It is shameful that the most evil, dictatorial and repressive powers on earth today are calling African leaders Dictators. It is also very shocking and interesting as well that the same powers are not saying anything about the popular uprising that has been raging on Burkina Faso for the past three weeks resulting in the storming of the Presidential Palace in Ouagadougou, last night, with the whereabouts of Blaise Compaore unknown. This uprising has been going on for more than three weeks now and not a single international news media is reporting on it. Is it possible in today’s world that such an uprising can take place in a country like Burkina Faso; so close to the Ivory Coast; a dusk to dawn curfew imposed for two weeks; without the Western Media including those of the former colonial Master knowing about it?

We the new Generation of Africans cannot and will not be fooled. We know what Blaise Compaore stands for in Africa with regards to the West.

Captain Thomas Sankara was murdered for standing up to imperialism and neo colonialism in Burkina Faso in particular and Francophone Africa in general. He was killed for the same reasons that Patrice Lumumba and other African Freedom Fighters died for, their killers eventually becoming Presidents in those African countries and worked exclusively for Western interests in Africa.

Blaise Compaore, is one of them. He has a lot to answer for the civil wars that ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast then, and now.

That there is such a media blackout of the uprising in Burkina Faso, but an up-to-the-minute reporting of events in Yemen, Syria, Ivory Coast etc shows that the so called international news media are the mouth pieces of certain Satanic Powers with a sinister Mission for the rest of the world outside the West.

Why can’t the West respect Africa’s Independence and dignity?

In conclusion, we call on the UN to ensure the safety, protection, and well being of President Laurent Gbagbo; the constitutionally legal President of Ivory Coast and set him free. He cannot be tried whilst Alassan Ouatarra, the internationally selected President goes scot free after massacring thousands of civilians just to be President!

The Gambia Government would not recognize any President or Government in Africa that has been imposed by forces outside of the African Continent for whatever reason. We know what those governments and Presidents stand for in Africa. They loot African resources on behalf of the powers that brought them to power.

MAY THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH Guide, Guard and Protect Africans by giving us the courage to stand up in Defence of African Independence, Dignity and the protection of our natural Resources from those hungry locusts on the rampage in Africa. The road to total liberation may be tough, but we shall prevail very soon INSHA ALLAH.

________

This blog has covered many of the points raised by Mr. Mbeki, and by the government of the Gambia.   The Western recolonizers are barely trying to hide their intentions any more.    The people and resources of the entire continent are under assault.

Earlier posts regarding Ivory Coast are:
Creating Failed States For Profit
Humanitarian Invasion In Ivory Coast
Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacy
Ivory Coast – What Happened? What Next?

These days, to be a leader of a nation, a presidential candidate does not have to achieve a majority of votes in a free, fair and transparent election. All that one needs, is to be “internationally recognised” by the “international community” as the winner of the election.

However, in the case of a “not-favoured” ruler, the predatory countries would quickly jump in, calling the ruler barbaric, delusional, etc. They would declare that the ruler had lost his “mandate” and needed to go. Yes, these days, it is the “international community” that decides which national leader has a mandate of his people. Incredible! If the leader does not, the Security Council immediately makes a decision that allows the predatory country to start bombing.

Battle for Abidjan French-armoured-vehicles join fight

On Being Internationally Recognised
By Kwesi Adu
Saturday, 9 April 2011

“These days, to be a leader of a nation, a presidential candidate does not have to achieve a majority of votes in a free, fair and transparent election. All that one needs, is to be “internationally recognised” by the “international community” as the winner of the election.

An important initial requirement is to be the favoured candidate of the “international community”. Even if there are chances that one may lose the vote, all that the “international community’s favoured candidate needs to do is to create doubt in people’s minds. This is done by creating confusion and chaos during the elections. Actions such as ballot box snatching, fomenting fighting at polling stations or kidnapping of the representatives of the other party will do fine. If the other side should dare to respond by attempting to restore sanity, their attempt would be misrepresented and portrayed as a deliberate attempt to rig the election. The “international community” would then make a declaration that the favoured candidate won the elections and would order the other side to respect the “wishes of their people”.

It is even sweeter if the other side is the incumbent candidate. The obvious line would be “This is an incumbent who does not want to leave power”. As soon as the “international community” make their pronouncement, it would be a trigger for the supporters of the favoured candidate to occupy the streets and call on the other to concede.

If the other side does not “concede”, the western press, particularly, the BBC, CNN, VOA, Agence Presse Internationale, etc would be on the heels of the “not-favoured” candidate. They would taunt him/her, with suggestions that he/she should go into exile. If he/she refuses, the supporters of the favoured candidate would go on the rampage; and if, in the event, they kill or maim opponents of the “not-favoured” candidate, it would be blamed on the “not-favoured” candidate who would then be threatened with a trial at the International Criminal Court.

In such a scenario, the “international community” would table a motion at the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on the “not-favoured” candidate, his close associates, his/her spouse, the children, as well as their pets. They would be a travel ban. His/her assets, whether or not they have any abroad, would be frozen. In some cases, individual members of the “international community” may even go ahead and “nationalise” state assets of the country, and call them the personal assets of the “not-favoured” candidate.

The UN and the ICC prosecutor would be on the prowl on village cemeteries, looking for anybody who might have been buried in the past 6 months, and threaten to use the corpses as evidence of “atrocities” committed on the instructions of the “not-favoured” candidate.

If all these do not work, the military and security agencies would be encouraged to act to install the favoured candidate. If they do not comply, sanctions would be expanded to include restrictions on the national central bank to make it difficult for the military to be paid. Woe betides the “not-favoured” if he/she is the incumbent. If the country belongs to a regional grouping, such as an ECOWAS or an Arab League, they would be relied upon to lead the campaign against the not-favoured candidate.

Lest I forget! In the 21st century, if a third world country joins a regional grouping, the regional grouping becomes the owner of that country. As a result, the regional grouping would have sovereignty over the country, and have the right to invade the country or call on the UN Security Council and the ”International Community” to invade.

These days, the abuse of the UN Security Council as a tool in the hands of the predatory countries has become more blatant. As soon as the predatory countries decide that a third world country should be invaded, they obtain an automatic endorsement from the UN Security Council. As soon as the decision is made, they do not wait for the Security Council to draw up the modalities for the invasion. Within three hours of the decision, the predatory powers start bombing the victim countries.

The New World Political Order (NEWPO) is becoming more interesting by the day. If the leadership of a country is a client state of the predatory countries, that leadership can do whatever it wants. They can steal and loot the national coffers: it will not matter as long as the multinational companies of the predatory countries squeeze more profit from the client state. Such a client state does not need to hold periodic elections; they do not need to respect human rights; indeed, they can slaughter people every Friday at the square. No one would hear a genuine criticism from the “international community”. On the contrary they would describe that government as “stable” and that it needs some more time. Even when the citizens occupy the streets to protest against their suffering at the hands of the “favoured” ruler, the predatory powers would ask the citizens to “shut-up”. It is only when the citizens refuse to “shut-up” that the favoured rulers are asked to make changes.

However, in the case of a “not-favoured” ruler, the predatory countries would quickly jump in, calling the ruler barbaric, delusional, etc. They would declare that the ruler had lost his “mandate” and needed to go. Yes, these days, it is the “international community” that decides which national leader has a mandate of his people. Incredible! If the leader does not, the Security Council immediately makes a decision that allows the predatory country to start bombing.

There would happen even if the neighbourhood, other “favoured” rulers would be busily killing hordes of people.

By the way, there is this nice statement. “We oppose him because he is killing his own people”. Does it mean that it is all right to kill other people’s people?

However, this is the New World Political Order for you. These days, if one is a favoured politician, the person does not need to wait for an election. If he can summon about 1% of the population unto the streets, it is enough to attract calls for a regime-change if the incumbent is considered “not-favoured”. Within ten days, the “international community” would start bombing to install the favoured politician.

It is even more sad when politicians who can easily fall victim to this New World Political Order take unprincipled decisions in support of the policy. One fervently hopes that it does not happen to them one day. But if one day, the scales are turned on them, one may not be surprised to hear oneself singing “EHz ye de too, era ye de too Beebe ewe”

That is what it means to be “internationally recognised”. If the predatory powers decide not to recognise you, you are finished, especially if you belong not just to a “banana republic” but a “cocoa republic” as well.”

Soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara at a checkpoint at one of the principal entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Tuesday.

Battle for Abidjan -Gbagbo Militants escape fierce fighting

photo credit

What France and the United States have done for Haiti, they can do for Ivory Coast.

“The French and UN are laying the foundation to create another “Haiti-like” political and social situation for their advantage in Cote d’Ivoire. They will install their oligarchy, flood the country with NGO’s, have a permanent UN “peacekeeping” force (in reality AFRICOM forces), oppress the people while they plunder their resources. Nothing changes but the faces! ” (Jazzuloo)

Motto: Protecting civilians by bombing the side we ‘don’t like’ when they are attacked by the side we ‘like’.

While this is going on:

… the United States is constructing, not in Lagos or in Accra, but in Abidjan, a surveillance centre covering all of sub-Saharan Africa, along with the most significant diplomatic representation in Africa south of the Sahara after South Africa. (Maurice Fahe)

French soldiers are shown patrolling as part of the French Force Licorne in Port Bouet district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Saturday.

There is no honest argument that justifies military support to either side in Côte d’Ivoire. Despite the story spread by the French and the Americans that Ouattara won, they call him the “internationally recognized” winner, the only truth in that comes from the constant repetition.

Here is the sequence of events regarding the Ivoirian election as I understand it.

It is not possible to determine who really won the election.

The AU observer mission said the Ivory Coast elections were not credible, and documented why.

European and American observers starting spreading stories that the African observers were not credible.

Youssouf Bakayoko, the President of the Electoral Commission, failed to announce the preliminary results within the constitutionally stipulated 72-hour period.

The French and US ambassadors escorted Youssouf Bakayoko, without the other members of the Electoral Commission, to the hotel that was Ouattara’s headquarters to announce Ouattara had won the election.

This announcement was made to the French media only, no Ivoirian media were present.

According to the Ivoirian constitution the Electoral Commission announces the preliminary results only, the official results are declared by the Constitutional Council.

The Constitutional Council declared Gbagbo the winner.

Mr. Choi, the UN Representative, publicly disowned the results of the Constitutional Council by “certifying” that the winner of the election was Mr. Ouattara.

Then 5 out of 15 ECOWAS heads of state voted for military intervention.

General Hogg from AFRICOM visited Ghana and other countries of West Africa early this year trying to get Ghana involved in a military action in Ivory Coast.

Where Mr. Choi got the authority for that certification remains a mystery. He took it upon himself to override the constitution of a sovereign country. It looks like he was acting on instructions of the French and the US. The supposed win of Ouattara is a creation of the French and US ambassadors. The media have faithfully parroted that message. The AU observer mission said the elections were not credible. The Ivoirian Constitutional Council, the only body, according to the Ivoirian constitution, with authority to declare election results, announced Gbagbo as the winner.

Both leaders enjoy significant support and their supporters genuinely believe that others seek to cheat them out of deserved victory. The imposition of either leader on Ivoirians will escalate the conflict. And we are seeing that happen. Even assuming Gbagbo is ousted in the next day or two, the reprisals will continue.

You can see expanded information on this sequence of events, with sources and links, in my earlier post Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacy

As ThePaper commented at MoA:

And meanwhile the French are still promising a fast outcome out of the Ivory Coast mess. Another UN/French successful peacemaking effort. No neocolonial games being played here either. We are a neutral force, it’s not like both sides and have a proved record of ‘respecting’ human rights and law. We are there to protect civilians … by bombing the side we ‘don’t like’ while they are being attacked by the side we ‘like’. You see if we kill enough people fast enough it will end sooner and less civilians will end dying … at least until the civil war reignites in a couple weeks or months.

That effort is well underway:

France intervenes in Ivory Coast’s civil war
By Ann Talbot
7 April 2011
In the last 24 hours, France has directly intervened in the fighting in Ivory Coast as it seeks to reassert its control over its former colony.

French helicopters bombarded forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday afternoon, ground forces loyal to rival presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara were unleashed in an assault on the presidential residence. Nonetheless, as of late last night, Ouattara’s troops had retreated after a failed assault on the bunkers where Gbagbo is thought to be hiding.

Ivory Coast’s long-standing military standoff between Ouattara’s northern forces and Gbagbo loyalists has flared since the disputed November 28 presidential election. France and the NATO powers recognized Ouattara as the winner of the election.

French representatives negotiated with Gbagbo through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The talks finally broke down in the afternoon and pro-Ouattara forces launched what they described as the “final assault” on the presidential residence. Their intention, they said, was to “fetch him out” of his bunker. The intensity of the fighting was shown by reports that windows had been blown out of the embassies in the diplomatic district.

A terrified resident speaking over the phone told Reuters, “The fighting is terrible here. The explosions are so heavy my building is shaking. We can hear automatic gunfire and also heavy weapons. There’s shooting all over the place. Cars are speeding in all directions and so are the fighters”.

A military spokesman denied that French armed forces were involved in the fighting. But residents reported seeing French tanks on the streets. UN helicopters were seen flying over the presidential residence as the fighting raged.

Video from several miles away shows huge explosions rocking the city of Abidjan, home to four million people. Missiles can be seeing flying past the camera suggesting that a munitions dump was hit. What the scale of damage was closer to the barracks is still unknown, but one resident reported that a rocket had gone through the roof of a house, killing three people.

The leader of the United Nations team in Ivory Coast (UNOCI), Hamadoun Toure, was already briefed to expect a rapid denouement when he spoke to the BBC’s Today programme on Wednesday morning.

“We hope to find a solution very, very soon, so that it will be the end of the game,” he said.

Edouard Guillaud of the French armed forces expressed a similar view later in the day. He told Europe 1 Radio that Gbagbo would go soon: “I believe it is a matter of hours, possibly during the day”.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé told Reuters, “The negotiations which were carried out for hours yesterday between the entourage of Laurent Gbagbo and Ivorian authorities have failed because of Gbagbo’s intransigence”.

Gbagbo had reportedly insisted that he should be allowed to remain in Ivory Coast and that he be given UN protection. Though Gbagbo won almost half the vote in November’s election, according to international observers, these demands were apparently unacceptable to France.

France’s intervention shatters all the French government’s claims that its role in Ivory Coast was that of a bystander seeking to protect the population from harm. Instead, it is acting with the support of the US government to violently assert Western imperialist interests—in Ivory Coast and internationally.

France’s role in Ivory Coast has been praised by Washington. President Barack Obama welcomed the role of the French and UN forces and called on Gbagbo to step down.

“To end this violence and prevent more bloodshed, former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately, and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms”, Obama said. “I strongly support the role that United Nations peacekeepers are playing as they enforce their mandate to protect civilians, and I welcome the efforts of French forces who are supporting that mission”.

Since the start of the conflict in Ivory Coast, Paris and Washington have turned a blind eye to more substantial massacres of civilians by supporters of Ouattara—including one of up to 1,000 people in a single village. (See, “Civilians massacred by Western-backed forces in Ivory Coast”)

This is part of a broader explosion of French militarism in Africa. President Nicolas Sarkozy also led the way in calling for a no-fly zone in Libya. France was the first to recognize the Transitional National Council based in Benghazi as the rightful government of Libya. This has set a pattern for France in relation to Ivory Coast. France and Nigeria drafted UN resolution 1975, which gives UNOCI a mandate to protect civilians. It was drawn up on the same lines as the resolution that allowed NATO jets to attack military Libyan military positions.

Within days of the Ivory Coast resolution being agreed, France and UNOCI went into action in Abidjan. They bombarded the palace and presidential residence as well as Akueodo and Agban barracks on Tuesday. They justified their action by claiming that pro-Gbagbo forces had used heavy artillery against civilians.

The UN resolution did not authorize the French to attack, but UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote to Sarkozy to request French help. “It is urgent to launch necessary military operations to put out of action the heavy arms which have been used against the civilian population and the peacekeepers”, Ban Ki-moon said.

Gbagbo has in the past worked closely with Paris. He has whipped up ethnic and communal hostilities in an attempt to remain in power, targeting immigrant labourers who came to Ivory Coast from neighbouring Burkina Faso in the 1960s and 1970s as scapegoats as the economy has declined. This lay the basis for a protracted conflict with Ouattara, a northerner whom he excluded from the 2000 presidential elections, claiming that Ouattara’s parents were not born in Ivory Coast.

Paris recognised Gbagbo’s election at the time, even though he had excluded Ouattara, because he had close connections with then-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and France’s Socialist Party.

Gbagbo’s relations with France deteriorated, however, when he blocked French attempts to impose a power-sharing regime that would include northerners to end the civil war. Gbagbo broke a cease-fire in 2004 and launched a military assault on the north, during which a French base was hit. Paris responded by destroying the entire Ivorian air force.

When crowds came out onto the streets of Abidjan to protest this action, French helicopters dropped tear gas and concussion grenades on them, armoured cars took up positions on the bridges and gunboats patrolled the river underneath them.

The arrogant way in which France has asserted its authority in this situation underscores its continuing imperialist oppression of its former colony. Ivory Coast was granted formal independence along with the rest of French West Africa in 1960. However, France has always retained a troop presence in Ivory Coast under the terms of a military agreement signed in 1961.

Neither Gbagbo nor Ouattara appears likely to bring any good to Ivory Coast. But that is not for people outside the Ivory Coast to judge or determine.

Kwesi Pratt maintains that Gbagbo is president according to the Ivoirian constitution. When you look at the sequence of events above, that makes sense. Pratt has recommended negotiation and new elections.

Speaking on Radio Gold, an Accra based radio station, Kwasi Pratt Jnr expressed fears that the attack may be aimed at something more apocalyptic than the surrender of Gbagbo. “The attacks were aimed at killing the legitimate president of Ivory Coast,” he said. “This is an act of barbarism which must be condemned by all citizens of the world. The French have no mandate to assassinate any president anywhere in the world.”

There is no justification for military interference except to further colonial control and imperial ambitions. For those, military invasion works very well.

________

Added April 15:
From Inner City Press:

UNITED NATIONS, April 13 — French government memos obtained by Inner City Press reflect, as far back as 2005, France and the UN wanted to “put in place a plan of action to destablize Laurent Gbagbo.” See document here, under the rubric “From New York: Departure of Gbagbo.”

The French were monitoring, to say the least, plans for a coup d’etat against Gbagbo, that would result in Gbagbo’s “displacement” outside of Cote d’Ivoire. See document here.

France’s internal reporting on military forces and leaders in Cote d’Ivoire is here.

Also obtained by Inner City Press is the French analysis of the “failure” of African leaders Tandja, Mbeki of South Africa and Obasanjo of Nigeria — later given UN mandates and pay elsewhere. Click here and here for French analyses of the three heres, and here again for a French memo on the intentions of Guillaume Soro, referring to another childhood friend of Gbagbo and his “ethnie Bete” — Bete ethnicity.

After Inner City Press’ publication on April 8 of the first installment in this series, which endeavors to use primary documents as background to recent action in Cote d’Ivoire — as well as to question why a French diplomat, Romain Serman, arrested in New York for attempt purchase of cocaine and resisting arrest, has resurfaced as France’s general consul in San Francisco

Human rights advocate and former ambassador Craig Murray has this to say about Ouattara:
Truth and Ivory Coast

This is the fundamental flaw in liberal interventionism. It inevitably leads to the imposition of governments like the ultra-corrupt coastal elite of Sierra Leone, like Bosnian and Albanian gangster mafias or like Alassane Ouattara. … The essential advice is simple. Follow the money.

Now we must not make the reverse error of glorifying the Gbagbo side. Gbagbo clung to office and postponed elections too long. He played the ethnic card. He indulged in nepotism. His forces killed the innocent. He was one of those noble and longstanding opposition figures who becomes something of a nightmare in power. His side cheated, beat and intimidated just as much as Ouattara’s side in elections which it is farcical to claim were free, fair and properly administered, or were any kind of realistic guide to the will of the people of a deeply riven state. I hope that Gbagbo is decently treated, but do not regret his loss of power.

The massacre of 800 people at Duekoue a fortnight ago is thankfully extremely rare, and was without doubt committed by Ouattara mobilised militias. …

Consider this about Ouattara. He was Prime Minister to a truly dreadful African despot, Houphouet-Boigny, who was dictator of Ivory Coast for 33 years. Houphouet-Boigny moved the capital to his home village and spent US$300 million on building the world’s largest church there. He looted US$9 billion from the people of Ivory Coast. Ouattara was his ally, his finance minister then prime minister, and has never disavowed him. …

But also Houphouet-Boigny and Ouattara’s Ivory Coast was the base for both French military and CIA operations throughout the continent and for promoting the very worst kind of western interests – which is why Africans view with huge suspicion Ouattara’s instalment by Western forces.

Ivory Coast was allied to apartheid South Africa and was the sanctions busting capital of Africa. Vast amounts of goods, including but not limited to oil, were consigned to Ivory Coast on their papers and trans-shipped to the apartheid regime to bust sanctions. Ivory Coast also provided all the logistic back-up to Jonas Savimbi and UNITA and it was in Abidjan that the CIA and apartheid regime worked together to promote the terrible Angolan civil war.

It was also in Abidjan that the CIA organised the coup that overthrew Kwame Nkrumah and planned the death of Patrice Lumumba. …

Ouattara became head of the african department and deputy managing director of the IMF in the 1980s when that organisation was forcing disastrous structural adjustment programmes all over the continent. African nations were forced to liberalise, reduce tariffs and open up their economies when no such constraints were placed on the developing nations with which they were trading. To give just one example of how this worked, which I personally tried but failed to counter: Nigeria was forced by the IMF to reduce tariffs on imported sugar. The EU then flooded Nigeria with millions of tons of sugar, at one third of the cost of its production, with the remaining two thirds paid to European farmers as export subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy. Nigeria’s sugar plantations – which were actually very efficient – collapsed under the unfair subsidised competition from which Nigeria was not allowed to protect them. That was Ouattara. France was very happy with him.

So not only does Ouattara need to heal the deep divisions in his own population, he has to prove to the rest of Africa he is not just a western tool.

Anyone who claims that they know, for sure, that either Allassane Dramane Ouattara or Laurent Gbagbo won the election is fiddling with the truth. Dr. Nfor N. Susungi

Considering the facts, it is difficult for Angola to accept that there is an elected president in La Côte d’Ivoire. We believe however, that there is a constitutional president. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President Of Angola

Estimated undiscovered and recoverable oil and natural gas off the coast of Ivory Coast, extending through Ghana, Togo, Benin, and the western edge of Nigeria.: 4,071 MMBO, million barrels of oil, 34,451 BCFG, billion cubic feet of gas, and 1,145 MMBNGL, million barrels of natural gas liquids, for the Coastal Plain and Offshore AU in the Gulf of Guinea Province, outlined in red. This does not include current existing discoveries, or fields already in production. Note that it extends along the entire coast of Ivory Coast.

“In any case, people should stop to consider the circumstances under which the election results were declared. The election result was not declared by the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire. It was declared by one member of the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire, in Hôtel du Golf, which is the Headquarters of the Opposition. He was accompanied to do that declaration by the Ambassador of France and the Ambassador of the United States of America.

Indeed, the declaration was not done before the Ivorian media. The declaration was done, exclusively before the French media. No Ivorian journalist was present when the declaration was made. And it was made in the Headquarters of the Opposition.”
Kwesi Pratt

OUTSIDE MILITARY INTERVENTION IN IVORY COAST

ECOWAS threatened military intervention in Ivory Coast if Gbagbo does not cede the presidency to Ouattara. In January the Commander of the U.S. Army Africa, General Hogg (misspelled Hagg in the article) toured West African countries, including Ghana, looking for commitments of proxy soldiers for military intervention in Côte d’Ivoire.

“Responding to a question from the Commander of the United States Army in charge of Africa, Major-General David Hagg, Lt Gen Blay said the GAF were overstretched because of their international engagements in peacekeeping operations in various trouble spots in the world and that the top brass had made that known to the Commander-in-Chief of the GAF, President John Evans Atta Mills.

He said the GAF also had their commitments to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

Major-General Hagg was in the country to officially find out whether or not Ghana would commit troops to Cote d’Ivoire, should the need arise.”

Gen. David Hogg, the United States Commander in charge of Africa (left), admiring a gift presented to him by Lt. Gen. Augustine Blay, Ghana's Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), at the Burma Camp in Accra, Jan. 12, 2011.

At his New Year’s Press Conference, H.E. President John Evans Atta-Mills presented Ghana’s foreign policy stance on Cote d’Ivoire as one which respects the territorial sovereignty of its neighbor, seeks to use peaceful diplomatic means to resolve the ongoing electoral dispute and puts a priority on the interests of Ghanaians. President Atta-Mills also said in his “personal opinion” he did not believe that military force will be beneficial in resolving the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire and therefore was opposed to a military invasion of Cote d’Ivoire.

President Mills opined that he believed we should be guided by the Fanti saying in relation troubles “Dzi wo fie asem, mind your own house/business. He received a lot of criticism for this, including from the BBC, whose David Amanor missed the point. A better explantion of the use of the proverb is provided by Nii Aryertey Aryeh. Mills consulted with the head of GAF, the Ghana Armed Forces, who said Ghana is already overextended with peacekeeping and does not have enough soldiers or resources to undertake military action in Côte d’Ivoire. It is also the case that at least a million Ghanaians live in Côte d’Ivoire. Their lives would be in significantly more danger if Ghana were to engage in military adventurism there. Mills advocates quiet diplomacy to resolve the situation in Ivory Coast.

The current planning for military intervention is hardly credible. Kwesi Pratt describes what has been committed so far. He gave an interview on Radio Gold (transcript) which is the most detailed description of the entire situation I have seen. Here is the excerpt describing the ECOWAS military commitment:

“You know, Suhuyini, I’d like to start with some definitions first. And then you will see how ridiculous the proposition to go to war is. Listen to me very carefully. I just checked, I am not a military man, so yesterday, I spent some time to go on the internet. And these are the definitions I got from the internet:

A platoon, a platoon, and fortunately Dr. Tony Aidoo is in the studio, having been Deputy Minister of Defence before, he may understand these things better than me.

Dr. Tony Aidoo: It is a small unit.
Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.: A platoon is twenty six to fifty five men. You understand? I will relate it to what I am going to say very soon. A platoon is twenty six to fifty five men. A company is eighty to two hundred and twenty five men. A battalion is three hundred to thousand three hundred men. And a regiment or brigade, is between three thousand and five thousand men and so on.

Now we are saying that the Ghana government is not committed to war. Other nations are committed to war. What is their concrete commitments? Look, ECOWAS chiefs of staff met in Abuja on the 28th of December last year, to consider the military option. So they said, everybody, bring what you have and let’s go to war. Look at what they brought, Suhuyini, it is very interesting!

Liberia…, Liberia, Liberia committed one infantry platoon. To go to war in La Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia contributed twenty six men!

Dr. Tony Aidoo: Hm hm hm! [chuckling]
Kwesi Pratt Jnr.: Sierra Leone committed one infantry company. That is all they committed. One infantry company! Senegal, Senegal which is leading the charge, Senegal and Burkina Faso which are leading the charge listen to what they contributed. Senegal is contributing one commando company, one motorised infantry company, and one battalion headquarters, take note, headquarters, not a battalion, one battalion headquarters with level two hospital. Benin decided to contribute only one mechanised company! One mechanised company!

It is getting more and more interesting. Now you can see the point I am making. Togo, Togo decided to commit one motorised company, and a possible commando company. A “possible”, it is not definite, commando company. Mali decided to contribute one transport company, one engineer company, and one motorised company.

Burkina Faso, Blaise Campoore’s Burkina Faso. Blaise Campoore who is touring the world to make the case for military intervention. He has been to Britain, he’s been to France, he is all over the place! Look at his contribution and you would laugh! Blaise Campoore’s contribution, Burkina Faso’s contribution is one mechanised infantry company, one commando company, and one engineer company. These are the contributions they are making.

This is a reflection of the commitment of West African leaders to war in La Côte d’Ivoire!

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.: Nigeria’s contribution is this. One motorised or mechanised battalion. One! One F-17 Fighter Squadron,

Dr. Tony Aidoo: A squadron is five people.
Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.; Yeah. One M-135 squadron, one single company and battalion headquarters. Headquarters-ooh? Sea assets, and additional one or two infantry companies, as may be required. And indeed, Nigeria is making the highest contribution.

Dr. Tony Aidoo: They don’t even reach two thousand!

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.: Master, this force is going to La Côte d’Ivoire to wage war against a regular professional army of eleven thousand men! This is the force that is going to La Côte d’Ivoire to wage war against a regular professional army of eleven thousand men!
… this is their death warrant being signed!

Dr. Tony Aidoo: Suicide mission.
Kwesi Pratt, Jnr..: This is a suicide mission! Suicide mission! My brother, listen to me very carefully. If you have been to Abidjan before, Abidjan is a densely populated city, with high rise buildings and so on To be able to take Abidjan, you need have total air domination. You need to have troops which would take complete control of the ground and so on. In fact, the estimates to be able to do that, the interventionist force needs not less than twenty thousand men, to be able to do this effectively and to do it quickly.

And yet, our leaders in Africa think that with less than two thousand men, and outdated equipment and so on, they will be able to do it! God bless them! They are only sentencing their soldiers to death, painful death on the streets of La Côte d’Ivoire.

I am happy that our Commander-In-Chief, and President, has taken the wise decision not push Ghanaian soldiers into this reckless adventure! The lives of Ghanaian soldiers are important to us!”

The AU is currently asking a group of African leaders to persuade Gbagbo to step down. Their mandate has been extended through February. So far it looks like a stalemate. Ouattara is recognized the winner by the international community, the US and France feature prominently among those declaring Ouattara the winner, and appear to have engineered the announcement that Ouattara won. So it behooves us to examine exactly what happened. The information below comes from Kwesi Pratt (1) Dr. Nfor N. Susungi (2) and The Socialist Forum of Ghana (3). You can listen to Kwesi Pratt’s interview on Radio Gold.

THE FACTS ON THE GROUND

“Now if you are going to respect the facts, what are the facts?

The African Union, which has joined ECOWAS and the UN in insisting on the military option, and insisting that Ouattara won the elections in La Côte d’Ivoire, sent an observer team to La Côte d’Ivoire to observe both the first round and the second round of the elections. The African Union Team was led by Koku Koffigoh, former Prime Minister of Togo.

At the end of the elections, Koku Kofigoh, made a public statement in Abidjan to the effect that the results of the elections were not credible. They were not credible! And that they were vitiated by extreme violence, stuffing of ballot boxes and so on. Indeed it is interesting that two of the AU observers were kidnapped by the New Forces, and it took the intervention of the United Nations to secure their release.

AU sends an Observer Mission, the Observer Mission says the elections are not credible, and yet the AU declares a winner! And insists that we should go to war in order to make the “winner” the President, when its own Observer Mission, headed by a former Prime Minister, says that the elections were not credible!” (1)

Dr. Nfor N. Susungi provides more detail:

Was the Presidential Election in Cote d’Ivoire Free and Fair?

For once, this is the easiest question to answer because the simple answer is NO. It was not possible to conduct free and fair elections in a country which was still cut in half with the rebel Forces Nouvelles (under the direct Command and control of Prime Minister Soro Guillaume) still controlling the northern half, having resisted all attempts to get them to disarm as required by the so-called Accords Politique de Ouagadougou. In spite of the fact that not even ONUCI with nearly 9,000 troops had succeeded in getting the rebels to disarm before the election, pressure was brought by the US and France, through the United Nations, for the elections to proceed.

The exactions that took place during the elections by armed groups in the rebel controlled north were detailed in consistent and concordant reports presented by various observer groups, including that of the African Union led by former Togolese Prime Minister Joseph Koffi KOFFIGOH, who all concluded that the scale of electoral abuses in the northern zone were on such a scale as to discredit the sincerity of the vote in many areas in the North.

Curiously, Curiously, Curiously, we started hearing voices to the effect that the credibility of local (African) observers was questionable. That is because the reports of European and American observers had already given passing marks to the entire election. The racist undertone to the denigrating commentary directed at African observers was absolutely unmistakable. That is when we all began to suspect that there was a grand agenda in this election which was not known to the public.

So who won the last election in Cote d’Ivoire?

Anyone who claims that they know, for sure, that either Allassane Dramane Ouattara or Laurent Gbagbo won the election is fiddling with the truth. …

The only thing that we know with absolute certainty is that Mr. Youssouf Bakayoko, the President of the CEI, having failed to announce the preliminary results within the stipulated 72-hour period, transmitted the election materials to the Constitutional Council after midnight on Wednesday 1/12/2010. Then on Thursday 2/12/2010 he went to Alassane’s campaign HQ at Golf Hotel to attend a press conference and ended up declaring Allassane the winner in a 3 minute speech. None were more stunned at this development than his fellow members of the CEI who were completely taken unawares.

The second thing that we know for sure is that Youssouf Bakayoko announcement at Golf Hotel was carried live on France 24 and other foreign media and that no Ivorian news network was present. The third thing which we know for sure is that the Constitutional Council declared Youssouf Bakayoko’s results invalid for being made after 72-hour deadline and for making it single-handedly in the campaign HQ of one candidate. The Constitutional Council went on to declare on Friday 3/12/2010 Gbagbo the final winner of the election after ruling on the validity petitions which were filed by Gbagbo to the Constitutional Council.

The last thing that we know with absolute certainty is that everyone seems to have taken sides since then and depending on whether you support Laurent Gbagbo or Allassane Dramane Ouattara, each side has been tuning only into the news networks which amplify the information which is favourable to their point of view.

The Constitution vs. the United Nations

Paul Yao Ndre is a Constitutional Lawyer of impeccable credentials and the ruling of the Constitutional Council under his Presidency cannot be dismissed just because he is reportedly a friend of Laurent Gbagbo. Whatever the case, since his ruling, he has come forward to defend the legal grounds on which he made his rulings whereas, nothing has been heard of Mr. Youssouf Bakayoko since he announced the results at Golf Hotel. The question is where is he and why has he gone into hiding? Who and what is he afraid of?

In all fairness to the camp of Allassane Dramane Ouattara, they may have been inclined to accept fatalistically the decision of the Constitutional Council … But unfortunately they were encouraged to engage in dissidence by the belief that there is another jurisdiction above the Constitutional Council when Mr. Choi, the UN Representative publicly disowned the results of the Constitutional Court by “certifying” that the winner of the election was Mr. Allassane Dramane Ouattara.

I listened, live, to the press briefing of Mr. Choi on ONUCI FM at which Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, a well-known Ghanaian journalist asked him, “Are you saying that there are two Presidents in Cote d’Ivoire now?” Mr. Choi replied in the affirmative. From that moment, I knew that Cote d’Ivoire was heading for an abyss and Mr. Choi was a very dangerous international civil servant who had triggered something very sinister which was now unstoppable.” (2)

U.N. mission chief to Ivory Coast Y.J. Choi (L) attends a meeting with Ivory Coast's Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan December 9, 2010. The U.N. Security Council has backed Ouattara as the winner of Ivory Coast's disputed Nov. 28 presidential election. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

________

The Socialist Forum of Ghana fills in more detail with some thought to the long range consequences:

“It is clear that both leaders enjoy significant support and that their supporters genuinely believe that others seek to cheat them out of deserved victory. The imposition of either leader on Ivoirians can only escalate the conflict. La Cote d’Ivoire deserves better.

Pan-African activists must challenge recent declarations made in the names of ECOWAS and the AU as well as the processes through which our regional bodies make critical decisions. The “AU” position was announced by a secretariat official without Council approval and purely on the basis of the supposed ECOWAS position. The Abuja ECOWAS summit itself was attended by only 5 out of 15 eligible heads of State and was apparently conducted on the basis of their “seniority” – i.e. longevity in office. Three of the heads of state present (Presidents Jonathan of Nigeria, Wade of Senegal and Compaore of Burkina Faso) endorsed Ouattara. Presidents Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia and Mills of Ghana urged caution and engagement. The only other ECOWAS leader that has taken a public position on the matter (President Jammeh of Gambia) has come out in support of President Gbagbo. Three out of sixteen is hardly a democratic majority. It is certainly inadequate for making life and death decisions affecting millions. That the majority of ECOWAS leaders have not spoken to the Ivoirian elections whether of reluctance to attract scrutiny to their own electoral credentials or fear of antagonising the “international community” or sheer short sighted indifference is simply not acceptable. We must demand more of our leaders.

More fundamentally we must challenge the narrative that suggests that La Cote d’Ivoire’s problem is an electoral one. A credible election in La Cote d’Ivoire would help to resolve the larger political crisis. However, the election dispute is only the most immediate of the deep divisions that afflict Ivoirians like. The fundamental division that drives African politics is the division between the incredibly wealthy foreign and local elites that control continental resources and the dispossessed and oppressed African poor that have to sell their labour and surrender their dignity to these elite machines just to survive. This fundamental division in African society has been compounded across the continent by many decades of elite divide-and-rule tactics that promoted secondary identity differences between ordinary working Ivoirians precisely to prevent them from uniting and challenging the elites responsible for their misery.” (3)

[Note: Horace Campbell provides more detail and background on Ivory Coast's recent history, particularly the divisions mentioned above that have been ruthlessly exploited by the powerful to retain power, quoted here in January.]

“In Cote La d’Ivoire several factors allowed those identity divisions to take on a life of their own in the 21st century. These included the growing challenge to French neo-colonial hegemony in West Africa from the US and from certain regional interests. These also included the collapse of local elite coherence following the death of President Houphouet-Boigny. As neo-colonial power fragmented in the mid-2000s identity politics degenerated to militarisation and partition and a massive increase in the woes of the Ivoirian people. Obviously, the imposition by the “international community” of Alassane Ouattara on such a deeply divided society will not solve the La Cote d’Ivoire crisis. What it will do is however is advance the overall cause of neo-colonialism and set the scene for further conflict between France and the US and allied regional powers for control over La Cote d’Ivoire and regional resources – in particular oil and gas.” (3)

In the western media you will not see much about oil being an issue in Ivory Coast. The news stories all talk about cocoa. But if you look at the map above you can see the significance. And no doubt the prospect of oil money makes the Ivorian presidential contenders more contentious. Oil is most certainly the reason AFRICOM’s General Hogg was seeking troop commitments in January for military intervention.

ON COUNTING THE VOTES

Kwesi Pratt tells us more about the vote counts:

“… take the Vallée du Bandama region in La Côte d’Ivoire, the Electoral Commission comes up with votes, you understand, votes, for Ouattara, you add those votes, they come to one hundred and forty nine thousand votes, and yet the declaration of results gives Ouatarra two hundred and forty four thousand votes! Who would accept this? You go to some other constituencies, turn-out, eh? Is two hundred and fifty per cent of registered voters! Two hundred and fifty per cent of registered voters! Who would accept those results?

Indeed, I asked my colleague and friend, Comrade Kwesi Adu, to do an analysis of the election results, because he does these things. He was an election observer in Guinea and so on, so he is so good at it. And I asked him to do an analysis. In one constituency, Gbagbo won one hundred and eighty per cent of all the registered voters. In the same constituency Ouattara won one hundred and something per cent of registered voters. How do you accept these results? How can you say that these results represent the will of the Ivorian people? By what magic?

So, either people are deliberately lying, or they don’t know the facts, or they are being insincere in the discussion of the Ivorian crisis.” (1)

THE IVORIAN CONSTITUTION

Pratt continues to describe the constitutional issues:

“What Does The Law Of La Côte d’Ivoire Say?
The law of La Côte d’Ivoire says it very clearly that the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire declares provisional results. That those provisional results ought to be validated by the Constitutional Council. That is what the law says. So, the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire, does not declare who a winner is. It only declares provisional results. It is only the Constitutional Council of La Côte d’Ivoire, which can declare a winner in an election.

Then you have some apologists of Ouattara, they come up and they say, look, the legal position is that that provision of La Côte d’Ivoire Constitution was suspended because an agreement was reached under UN auspices! My brother, this is a joke! Is anybody telling me that the UN, ECOWAS, AU, or any International organisation, can amend the constitution of a country, without reference to the people of that country? Does it make sense?

Even if you accept that the Electoral Commission of La Côte d’Ivoire is an independent Commission, and you accept that the final constitutional authority for declaring results is the Constitutional Council, what you do have in La Côte d’Ivoire is a situation where the electoral Commission has declared one result, and the Constitutional Council has declared another result. What you do have is a political crisis! It is an issue of the legitimacy of two state institutions.
Do You Resolve That By Going To War?”
(1)

Pratt compares the situation to the recent elections in Belarus and in Egypt, in which nobody suggested interfering or sending in troops, despite questions of legitimacy.

“So they [the international community] are acting clearly from a self-interest point of view! And we say, that our self-interest does not matter! So when the President says “Dzi wo fie asem”, then there is a problem! But all of them, every one of them, France, the United States, Britain, all of them they are “dzing their fie asem”! All of them!

None of them is doing what they are doing because they love West Africans more than themselves! They are doing it because of their interests in the strategic resources of La Côte d’Ivoire!

And that is why it is important for us to wake up to that reality and to begin to raise the fundamental questions of law and constitutionality.” (1)

Dr. Nfor N. Susungi tells us more about the constitutional issues:

“The real adversary standing between Allassane Dramane Ouattara and the Presidency of Cote d’Ivoire is not Laurent Gbagbo; it is Professor Paul Yao Ndre, the President of the Constitutional Council. Contrary to what many people seem to think, Paul Yao Ndre is a very able and independent-minded legal thinker who is sure about the legal grounds on which he made his ruling. He has full constitutional powers to make any ruling on the regularity of any aspects of the electoral process including, above all, on the validity of the announcement which was made by Youssouf Bakayoko at Golf Hotel.

On this particular point, his ruling was that the announcement was null and void because it was made after 72-hour foreclosure deadline and in the partisan context of the campaign HQ of one candidate. This is the most important ruling made by Professor Paul Yao Ndre and it is valid and binding. Any one challenging this ruling is attacking an institution, not a person.

The venom which is being poured prematurely on Professor Paul Yao Ndre at the moment is a serious mistake with which the United States should not be associated because even if an ECOWAS intervention force dislodges Laurent Gbagbo, the Armed Forces of Cote d’Ivoire will never swear their allegiance to defend Allassane as President unless he is sworn-in by Professor Paul Yao Ndre. As things stand at the moment, even if the Presidency became vacant, Allassane cannot claim it automatically because Professor Paul Yao Ndre will have no grounds for swearing-in Allassane to occupy the post of President.

The Role of Regional Organizations
Equally shocking has been the role of regional organizations which took their decisions without bothering to hear both sides of the story. Allassane Dramane Ouattara has been proclaimed winner by the “International Community” while Laurent Gbagbo has been declared winner by the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire. None can ignore the other because each one of them can claim to be standing on solid ground.
Clearly, the Ivorian crisis is breaking new ground in defining a new constitutional jurisdiction transcending the concept of sovereign states as defined and understood under the UN and AU charter. That new and emerging constitutional jurisdiction is known vaguely as “the International Community”. The powers that his new jurisdiction has arrogated to itself include the power to certify elections in a sovereign state and to declare war on a sovereign state. It is not yet clear whether the Ivorian crisis is a one-off situation or whether it is part of an emerging trend.

If it is part of a trend, then it is necessary for the world to get together very quickly and adopt some convention defining who “the International Community” is and what are its powers of intervention in the affairs of sovereign states. Failing that, we should expect that the world, and more particularly Africa, will enter a period of political instability on a scale never known before.

It is regrettable that it is only after the last ECOWAS summit unilaterally declared war on Laurent Gbagbo that they finally decided to send a delegation to deliver the ultimatum to Laurent Gbagbo. This is a watershed event in African history. The damage is already done. If the ECOWAS war does breakout, Africa will face its greatest challenge since the advent of independence in the Gold Coast in 1957. ECOWAS and UEMOA are now in deep trouble. The break-up of ECOWAS is on the cards if war breaks out and the withdrawal of Cote d’Ivoire from the CFA zone is also a possibility.” (2)

THE WHOLE PICTURE

Kwesi Pratt quotes His Excellency, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, The President Of Angola, who sums up the issues clearly and unequivocally.

“The facts specifically tell us the following;

One: The president of the Electoral Commission released the results of the second round of the presidential election, when it was out of his competence to do so, since his time, for purposes defined by law, was expired and since the issue had been transferred to the Constitutional Council for due consideration and treatment.

Two: The United Nations representative in Côte d’Ivoire in a hastened move, certified and announced those results when the relevant UN resolution states that the certification should focus on election results validated by the Constitutional Council, which had not yet made a pronouncement.

Three: The declaration by the United Nations representative misled the whole international community.”

And Listen very carefully,. The President of Angola says:

“The declaration by the United Nations representative misled the whole international community, since the Constitutional Council had not validated the provisional results released by the president of the Electoral Commission as a result of having accepted objections and complaints of serious irregularities and fraud which undermined these results.

Four: The Constitutional Council is in fact the only organ with the legal competence to validate and publish the final results of the elections.

Five: Under the law, The Constitutional Council should recommend the holding of new elections within 45 days, but it did not proceed in this manner and instead reported results that attributed the victory to another candidate.

Considering the above facts, it is difficult for Angola to accept that there is an elected president in La Côte d’Ivoire.

We believe however, that there is a constitutional president…,”

And this is very important, listen to the Angolan position:

“We believe however, that there is a constitutional president, the current president of the republic, who happens to be Laurent Gbagbo, who must remain in power until the new election as established by the electoral law of that country. The greatest difficulty now is that the 45 days are not enough to create a favourable climate for elections, and the current crisis complicates the matter further.

We are therefore of the opinion that any military intervention in the particular case of Côte d’Ivoire would have an adverse effect, with serious consequences beyond its borders.

The Angolan Executive supports and encourages dialogue and negotiations to overcome the crisis in this brother country, and believes that by demonstrating political will, wisdom, and realism, it is possible to find a solution that focuses, first and foremost, on the legitimate interests of all the people of Côte d’Ivoire.” (1)

Why does the international community want military intervention? The forces proposed are obviously hopelessly inadequate for the job. Nothing could be accomplished by them except to provoke instability and prolonged civil war. Is instability and civil war the objective? Would that help neo-colonial predators extract natural resources on their own terms? (death and suffering for you, money for us) Military intervention will burn all the parties involved, except perhaps certain multinational corporations engaged in extractive industries.

Côte d’Ivoire is in a state of profound political and constitutional crisis over the legitimacy of state institutions The imposition of either leader on Ivorians can only escalate the conflict. War will escalate the problems and delay any solutions. The country needs dialog and peaceful negotiations and diplomatic assistance. Angola’s President is correct in stating that Côte d’Ivoire has a constitutional president, but not an elected one. Ultimately Côte d’Ivoire needs to hold a new election. Although that may not help until it comes to better terms with who gets to vote, who runs the polls, and who counts the votes. The international community needs to back off from stepping in and overriding the constitution of a sovereign nation.

May 10, 2011 introductory note: After reading and learning more I wrote Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacy, which will tell you a great deal more about what actually happened and what next. It is summarized in the first part of this post: Humanitarian Invasion In Ivory Coast.

________

Koranteng writes:

The usual practice when handing over to oneself is to hold back declaring results in your strongholds and wait until you know how many votes you need. …
Gbagbo and company couldn’t manage to do this, indeed the electoral commission that this sitting government had put in place took its job seriously and was remarkably independent – as well it should since a tremendous amount of effort had been put in place by Ivorians and the international community to stage these elections. The resort, then, was to say that the electoral commission did not have the right to declare the results. Which brings me again to that video clip I noted earlier that I’ve been stewing over ever since (… I recommend to everyone their closing line: “the elections have been canceled six times in the past five years.”). I haven’t seen a more perfect piece of political theater in years. Every actor played their part brilliantly.

Laurent Gbagbo (L) and Alassane Ouattara (R) laugh during a meeting in Abidjan in this November 27, 2010

When the next day, the head of the electoral commission did manage to sneak out and declare the results, the Gbagbo camp would remark that the declaration was invalid since it hadn’t been made within the requisite timeframe. In other words, the declaration that could have been made the prior night had turned into Cinderella’s carriage once midnight had passed.

What then followed would clearly demonstrate that Ivory Coast has had a fictitious election.

It would only be after the election results were declared that a ‘Constitutional Council’ would throw out the votes of 12 percent of the country so that the “results” would be in Gbagbo’s favour. Surely this must be the most innovative response to an electoral contest. …

First for 15 years ago, you say that a large part of your countrymen are not Ivorians, then you say that they are but that they can’t register, then you delay for 5 years, then you allow only some to register as you then delay registration and again delay the vote. Then the whole country votes and even your folks vote against you so that the opposition win. And now you go and nullify their votes even though most of the irregularities were in your strongholds. Words fail me.

Koranteng also points out:

Incidentally, we were on notice as to how ugly things might turn out. Recall if you will, the September story about that Ivorian man arrested in California attempting to buy arms to smuggle in contravention of the UN embargo. The salient quote:

“$1.9 million wired to the US as a 50 percent downpayment on the weapons… the shipment of 4,000 handguns, 200,000 rounds of ammunition and 50,000 tear gas grenades to Ivory Coast.”

… The fact also that millions of dollars were so readily transferred surely indicates the importance the old government placed on the military option and indeed the kind of planning that was involved …

That should have been a tipoff, as should this diplomatic assessment from July 2009 via Wikileaks: “The Reality: There will not be an election unless President Gbagbo is confident that he will win it — and he is not yet confident of the outcome.”

There are reports of mercenaries coming in from Liberia and Angola, although the facts are difficult to determine. Ouattara is talking up the tales of mercenaries. He wants military intervention to help him assume office. But that does not mean that some accounts are not true. And some of Charles Taylor’s former cohorts are looking for work, grabbing their wigs and heading to Ivory Coast in hope that either side might employ them.

In an interview on Democracy Now, Horace Campbell provides his analysis of the aftermath of the election, along with some history:

As Thousands Flee Ivory Coast, Former Clinton Adviser Lanny Davis is Paid Lobbyist for President Who Refuses to Cede Power:
Well, this is a test for the African Union. It’s a test for whether the concept of people’s rights and the idea of democracy will go beyond elections, because in the case of the Ivory Coast, that is called Côte d’Ivoire, we have a situation where the person who has lost the election, Laurent Gbagbo, is refusing to step down. And in the process of refusing to step down, he and those around him, they are invoking all forms of xenophobia and hostility to people from the north in order to divide the country. Thankfully, the days when Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were places that could provide the mercenaries so that Gbagbo could develop war, thankfully, we are in the state of transition in Sierra Leone, in Liberia and Guinea so that the possibility for war will be dependent on the extent to which Gbagbo can get support from persons like Lanny Davis in the United States and the bankers and financial elements within the country that will finance his army.

What we have to do in this country, we have, in this country, to call on Hillary Clinton to distance herself from Lanny Davis, who has been employed by Gbagbo to lobby for him in Washington to present the government as a transparent and democratic government.

Gbagbo is trying to exploit differences between the State Department and the White House. The President of the United States called Laurent Gbagbo to urge him to step down, and he was so arrogant that he refused to take the telephone call of President Barack Obama. And he is arrogant enough to believe that he can whip up the kind of xenophobia to divide the people of the Ivory Coast to say that Alassane Ouattara is not an Ivorian … the point is, the people voted for him, and the election’s results should be observed.

And the positive result out of all of this is the clarity of the African Union, the fact that the African Union is taking a very clear position that Ouattara won the election. The African Union is taking a very clear position that they will use force. And the fact that the meeting of ECOWAS that took place two days ago would send a very clear signal so that there could be no manipulation within West Africa itself, I think this is part of the maturity of the African Union process. And we’re going to need that process also in the Sudan in nine to 11 days’ time, when we face a similar crisis in the Sudan. So, what we in this side of the world have to do, we have to keep up our education to the citizens so that people like Lanny Davis and the State Department and the U.S. Africa Command cannot use incidents such as what is happening in the Ivory Coast to represent Africa as backward and divisive and barbarian.

In this interview Horace Campbell also provides some background to the current situation:

Ivory Coast was a jewel in the crown of French colonialism. The Ivory Coast, by its very name, was a place where colonial plunder took ivory and gold. And the Ivory Coast is located in West Africa, bordered by Liberia, bordered by Sierra Leone, and by Ghana. Now, the president of the Ivory Coast, when Ivory Coast became independent in 1960, the president of Ivory Coast was Houphouët-Boigny. Houphouët-Boigny used the Ivory Coast as a base for counterrevolution in Africa. All of the forces of French colonialism, all of the forces of French exploitation, all of the forces of French militarism converged on the Ivory Coast. And for 30 or more years, the Ivory Coast was the base for supporting apartheid in South Africa. It was a base for supporting Jonas Savimbi. Jonas Savimbi was very close to the leader, Houphouët-Boigny. And some of your listeners would know that they were also complicit in the plot to assassinate Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso.

Now, the fact is, because of the intensification of the investment in the Ivory Coast in that period, in the 50-year period, millions of Africans went to work on banana and cocoa plantations, so that there were a number of people, persons from Burkina Faso, persons from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana, who worked in that country. So the country has 20 million persons. There are 10 or a million more persons from north of the country whose ancestors came as migrant workers. Now, in the spirit of pan-Africanism, one should recognize that the borders in the Ivory Coast were artificially created at the Conference of Berlin.

Well, in 1993, after Houphouët-Boigny passed away, Alassane Ouattara was the prime minister. They wrote a Supreme Court judgment to say that those who are from the north were not Ivorian citizens, and Alassane Ouattara, whose mother supposedly was born in the Burkina Faso, could not become a candidate for the presidency. Now, between 1999 and 2000, Gbagbo himself ran in an elections, and when he won the elections, the general who was the head of the army said that Gbagbo could not come to power. Gbagbo himself organized so that he could come to power, and there was a civil war in the country between 2000 and 2004, which, again, brought about the intervention of South Africa and the African Union. In that invention, the African Union worked to overturn that judgment of the Supreme Court that said that persons from the north could not be citizens.

And this idea is a sentiment that is whipped up in the country called Ivority. Ivority is a chauvinistic notion. It is an anti-pan-African notion. It’s a notion that says only those who are Christian from the southern area of the country can be citizens. Now, this is not something that is carried by the majority of the citizens of the Ivory Coast; this is an idea that is whipped up by the elements of the Ivorian capitalist class. These are Ivorians who have made millions of dollars out of cocoa plantation, out of exploiting the workers in the Ivory Coast.

Abayomi Azikiwe writes What’s Behind the Calls for Military Intervention in Ivory Coast, in which he provides more historical background on the situation in the Ivory Coast, including:

Guy De Lusignan in his book entitled “French-Speaking Africa Since Indpendence”, said … They staked their all on big business and foreign capital. The brilliant potentialities of the country are a challenge and their answer to that challenge is undoubtedly ‘neo-colonialist’ in spirit.

And Azikiwe writes about US and French policy in Ivory Coast. He does not support military intervention, at least not yet, because that intervention would inevitably be used as a tool of US imperialism, another exercise in proxy war. Azikiwe writes:

What is happening in Ivory Coast cannot be viewed in isolation from the overall U.S. and French policy of increasing military involvement in West Africa under the guise of the so-called “war on terrorism.”

During the period of French colonialism and the first three decades of independence (1960-1990),Ivory Coast was promoted to the public as a model for imperialist rule that worked.

What the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables revealed was that through successive U.S. administrations, including Barack Obama, the same imperialist aims and objectives determine the character of its foreign policy toward Africa.

U.S. imperialism is strictly designed to further penetrate the economic, political and military affairs of the continent. The threatened intervention by ECOWAS would inevitably translate into large-scale deployments of both Nigerian and Ghanaians troops into Ivory Coast.

Such an operation that would place thousands of ECOWAS troops in Ivory Coast would require the logistical support of the U.S. and France. This would place the imperialists in a position to monitor events in Nigeria, with its own political problems of regional and intra-religious conflict, as well as other states including Mali and Sudan.

Consequently, anti-war and peace movements inside the United States must oppose any effort by the U.S. to bolster its military presence in Africa by utilizing the Ivorian crisis as an excuse to indirectly invade the country through funding, coordinating and transporting ECOWAS troops in an invasion into the Ivory Coast. Such a course of action could spark even more bloodshed in the West Africa region.

The mediation efforts of former South African President Thabo Mbeki provides some hope of resurrecting a political solution to the crisis. Why should their be an ultimatum given to Gbagbo while the other states in the region have been able to work out internal problems through political intervention and negotiations?

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) over the last year has conducted large-scale military maneuvers on the continent. In West Africa war games have been conducted under the guise of enhancing the security capacity of African states.

Although some fear the US State Department supports Gbagbo, citing particularly Lanny Davis and his close relationship with the Clintons, Ouattara appears to be the current darling of the US and France:

He is a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist. He was deputy managing director of the IMF from 1994 to 1999 and governor of the Bank of Central African States. He [Ouattara] was prime minister of Ivory Coast from 1990 to 1993 and is closely identified with the free market policies introduced under an IMF structural adjustment plan that removed price subsidies and deregulated the labour market. State-owned enterprises were privatized and tariff barriers removed.

The economic and social tensions that were ultimately to break out into civil war can be traced in part to the process of economic liberalisation that began in the 1990s. President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled Ivory Coast from its independence in 1960 until his death in 1993, was able to maintain a degree of stability by sharing patronage among rival sections of the country’s elite. Under his successors tensions became increasingly acute. Falling commodity prices hit Ivory Coast’s chief export of cocoa, and structural adjustment reduced the amount of patronage available.

Ivorian politicians whipped up communalist sentiments as they attempted to win a greater share of the country’s wealth for themselves and their supporters. This led to two years of civil war that was only brought to an end by a power-sharing agreement in 2004, which left the country divided.

France and the US are eager to see Ouattara in the presidential palace because they see him as the ideal candidate to push through economic measures that will make Ivory Coast the key to developing the entire region as a supplier of raw materials. Their outright backing for Ouattara represents a shift from their previous preference for a power-sharing agreement between the northern, mainly Muslim, and the southern, mainly Christian, Ivorian factions.

The New Forces are not thought to be a match for the Ivorian army and would need help from foreign troops if Ouattara were to attempt to oust Gbagbo by military means. ECOWAS seems to be readying itself to do that, in the form of the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG).

ECOMOG has previously intervened in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. The operation in Liberia was noted for the extent of the looting and corruption on the part of ECOMOG forces, which earned them the nickname “Every Car or Movable Object Gone”. ECOMOG would need logistical and other technical support from the great powers. Their intervention would in this sense be a cover for an extension of more direct colonial authority over Ivory Coast.

French defence minister Alain Juppé has said that his country’s troops stationed in Ivory Coast are ready to protect French citizens, but would only intervene directly with a UN mandate. But if Ouattara called on their help as president, they could intervene under a French-Ivorian defence treaty that dates back to 1961. The Financial Times has warned that French intervention would be counterproductive, but with French troops already on the ground this must be one of the most likely outcomes of the conflict over the presidency.

Ouattara’s call for a general strike has undoubtedly followed consultations with his French and US backers. It is uncannily similar to the mass action discussed between Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the US embassy in Harare which has been revealed in the exposed WikiLeaks cables. Tsvangirai agreed to plan strike action for the Christmas holidays when schools, public buildings and many businesses would be closed anyway.

The strike call in Ivory Coast is a cynical manoeuvre, intended to give Ouattara some semblance of popular legitimacy, while possibly providing the pretext for a foreign military intervention. If the strikers came under attack from the Ivorian military, which is still loyal to Gbagbo, then an invasion by West African troops with French and US backing could be presented as a humanitarian operation.

I think the White House is backing Ouattara. And I’m sure Gbagbo didn’t do himself any favors by refusing to talk to President Obama.

Daniel Drezner at Foreign Policy has fantasies of a surgical strike by US special forces citing this BBC report in which Mr. Ouattara is trying to encourage a strike against Gbagbo, saying he could be taken out without starting a civil war or killing Ivoirians.

“Legitimate force doesn’t mean a force against Ivorians,” Mr Ouattara told reporters on Thursday, AFP news agency reports.

“It’s a force to remove Laurent Gbagbo and that’s been done elsewhere, in Africa and in Latin America, there are non-violent special operations which allow simply to take the unwanted person and take him elsewhere.”

Unfortunately the unwanted person has sometimes been the winner of a democratic election, whose removal the US has engineered or facilitated, as with Aristide in Haiti or Zelaya in Honduras or the failed attempts to oust Chavez using proxies. And the US, in the person of Ambassador Ranneberger, backed Kibaki in his coup against what should have been a successful election in Kenya, plunging the country into violence, then forced a power sharing agreement on the country when the coup was so outrageously obvious and widely condemned that it could not stand.

One thing we do know about US policy in Africa, it has relentlessly repeated the same mistakes year after year decade after decade. This includes backing and arming both sides in some conflicts and sponsoring dictators and coup makers, training the militaries that terrorize their people. The present attempts to militarize the continent with the Africa Command, and its shores with seabasing, are just the most recent and vigorous example of this energetic and relentless rush in the wrong direction. It would be fabulous material for comedy if it weren’t so lethal.

Ouattara is a free market fundamentalist and practitioner of the zombie economics so favored by the corporate predator state, policies that helped damage the Ivoirian economy and many more developing economies, the policies that are currently bringing down the US economy. He is also the legitimate winner of the election, chosen by the voters in Ivory Coast and all parties should respect that.

Samuel Adjei Sarfo provides more detail on the election itself and events as they transpired. Follow this link for details of the electoral process and events: Ghana’s Policy On The Ivorian Crisis. Sarfo is an advocate for military intervention. He is justly afraid of a possible power sharing agreement, writing:

Of this kind of arrangement [power sharing], Kenya and Zimbabwe point the way to its insufficiency and danger. That kind of arrangement [power sharing] sets up a paradigm for the demise of democracy in Africa. Why must the winner of elections compensate himself by playing second fiddle to the loser of that election? In the Ivorian situation in particular, such an arrangement is superfluous because power-sharing already existed, and the election was conducted to give meaning to democratic rule through the direct franchise of the Ivorian people, and to end the civil war and the unpopular power-sharing arrangement.

Of course power sharing can be advantageous to outside predators. It keeps a government weak and divided, unable to properly protect itself, its people, and resources.

The situation in Ivory Coast may already be having an unfortunate effect on democracy in Africa, from the Financial Times January 4 Congo rulers use crisis to review poll laws:

Ivory Coast’s disputed election may have become Africa’s latest get-out-of-democracy-free card, after the Democratic Republic of Congo, the vast mineral-rich country to its south, announced it wants to revise its constitution to avert a similar fate.

The government of Congo, which suffers from a conflict in its east that has displaced more than 1.4m people in the past 18 months alone, said this week it would seek to do away with a second round in presidential elections due to be held this year, a move many regard as a pretext for an early victory for Joseph Kabila, the incumbent president.

I don’t know what will happen next. Gbagbo’s position is untenable. I don’t think military intervention is a good idea, see many of the arguments above. Although I do understand the arguments for an ECOWAS intervention. If military intervention occurs, there are certain to be ugly unintended consequences, ugly consequences that should be anticipated, and some ugly consequences that are intended. It should be possible to use pressure and diplomatic negotiation to resolve the situation. Keeping talking, and talking, and talking more is about the only way to resolve issues where the parties are determined not to compromise.

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09ABIDJAN406, ELECTIONS IN COTE D’IVOIRE: THE MYTH AND THE REALITY
cable July 2009 via Wikileaks

http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/07/09ABIDJAN406.html

________
See my later post:
Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacyfor more information on exactly what happened and what it means going forward.

Ghana’s Western neighbor Ivory Coast is reportedly laying claims to portions of the huge oil wealth in the deep waters of the Western Region.

Map with Dzata oil field and Jubilee field off Cape Three Points Ghana (click to enlarge)

In a move to save the situation, Ghana has begun an urgent move to pass a new law that seeks to establish the Ghana Boundary Commission to undertake negotiations to determine and demarcate Ghana’s land boundaries and de-limit Ghana’s maritime boundaries.

The news of Ivory Coast’s claim to parts of Ghana’s oil fields comes just days after United States operator Vanco struck oil in the deep-water Dzata-1 well, off Ghana’s Cape Three Points near Ivory Coast, further boosting the oil wealth in Ghana’s booming offshore Tano basin.
However the Hon Collins Dauda said he is confident Ghana and Ivory Coast will be able to resolve the matter without any conflict due to the good relations between the two countries. (GhanaWeb)

I surely hope the Hon. Collins Dauda is correct.

[UPDATE: Added March 5, from MyJoyOnline, see below for the rest of the article
Ivorian authorities are only calling for a negotiation of the maritime border between the two countries.]

The Vanguard tells us:

Industry sources say the crude found off Ghana is of a quality even easier to refine than the light, sweet crude found in Nigeria, one of the world’s largest oil producers.

Revenue derived from oil will be invested in the national power supply, with improvements to the road network and water supply, construction of a deep sea oil port and revamping railway lines, Atta-Mills said.

“These projects will not only create significant employment themselves but will also support the growth of other industries,” he told the parliamentarians

My Joy Online has a bit more detail on the dispute:

Head of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peace-Keeping Training Centre, Dr Kwesi Aning, says Ivory Coast’s claim to portions of Ghana’s oil fields exemplifies “a failure of the state institutions to protect our national interest.”

Dr Aning said there is a general lack of seriousness in ensuring the country’s boundaries are protected.

Ivory Coast has sent the government of Ghana a correspondence expressing outright disrespect for an existing “median line” that divides the two countries.

The Francophone country consequently served the United Nations with a similar correspondence saying it does not respect a temporary boundary between the two countries.

The Ghana Government is expecting Parliament to quickly deliberate on a bill that would establish a boundary commission to negotiate Ghana’s maritime boundaries with Ivory Coast.

The Ghana Boundaries Commission Bill has been sent to Parliament under a certificate of urgency, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Collins Dauda told the Super Morning Show on Thursday.

“A national boundaries commission will be put in place that would engage our neighbours in La Cote d’Ivoire with a view of negotiating our maritime boundary between ourselves and our brothers in Ivory Coast,” he said.

Dr Aning said the bill must be given a strong bi-partisan urgency to ensure that the country derives the most out of its oil resource.

The security expert is also recommending a solid technical documentation studied by lawyers with expertise on petroleum matters.

Diplomatic implications

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister says the emerging claim from Ivory Coast for portions of the oil fields in the Western Region is a very delicate matter.

Collins Dauda said the issue has serious international and diplomatic repercussions.

“We have not been able, as a country, to determine our boundary with Ivory Coast and there is the need for us to now determine the maritime boundary between Ghana and Ivory Coast,” he said.

Mr Dauda however said both countries have, for years, respected “a median line” between them that cannot be trespassed.

“All of a sudden, with the oil find, Ivory Coast is making a claim that is disrespecting this median line we have all respected. In which case we would be affected or the oil find will be affected,” he said.

Baseless claim

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister said the claim by Ivory Coast is baseless.

This, according to him, is because the claim by the Francophone country is rather parallel to certain internationally acceptable standards of determining maritime boundaries.”

Collins Dauda said, last year, Ghana appealed to the United Nations to extend its maritime boundary by 200 nautical miles.

As a precondition, the UN directed the country to negotiate boundaries with its neighbours, he disclosed.

Disrespect for ‘median line’

The latest turn of events may even be more surprising as Ivory Coast has already sent a correspondence to the Republic of Ghana, expressing disrespect for the median line the two countries have agreed upon for years.

Consequently, Ivory Coast has made a submission to the United Nations laying claim to portions of the Ghana’s oil find.

Drilling on the Dzata-1 well began almost a year ago, the map and photo, above and below, accompany this article from April 2009:

ACCRA, Ghana–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Vanco Ghana Ltd. and LUKOIL Overseas Ghana Ltd., signed a new Petroleum Agreement, covering the Cape Three Points Deepwater block. This agreement will replace the existing Petroleum Agreement which expires at the end of April 2009. The new agreement provides Vanco and LUKOIL with the opportunity to continue the exploration of the area, during which new 3D seismic and additional drilling activities are planned. The new agreement also provides GNPC and the government of Ghana with significant commercial benefits, including higher royalty and increased GNPC participation. The new Petroleum Agreement also gives ownership of Associated Gas to the State.

The Aban Abraham drillship mobilized to Ghana to drill the Dzata Prospect. (Photo: Business Wire)

The Cape Three Points Deepwater block encompasses an area of 5,146 square kilometers in water depths ranging from 200 to 3,000 meters in the Tano Basin. Vanco (Operator) holds a 28.34% participating interest in the Cape Three Points Deepwater block with LUKOIL holding a 56.66% participating interest. GNPC, the state oil company, holds a 15% carried interest, with the option to acquire up to an additional 5% in any commercial discovery.

The new agreement comes as the Aban Abraham deepwater drillship departs Cape Town, South Africa after completing final retrofit operations to enable the unit to drill in water depths of up to 2,000 meters. The Aban Abraham will mobilize to Ghana to commence the Dzata-1 exploratory well by the end of April 2009.

Situated in 1,874 meters (6,148 feet) water depth, the Dzata Prospect is a large anticlinal structure with numerous Upper and Lower Cretaceous potential reservoir horizons and distinct direct hydrocarbon indicators, including flat spots and a “gas chimney.” The well will be drilled to a total depth of approximately 4,786 meters, or 2,912 meters below the mud line.

“The Aban Abraham drilling unit is finally ready to drill this exciting prospect where we are hopeful of a significant discovery,” says Vanco President, Gene Van Dyke. “Vanco and LUKOIL appreciate the assistance and support of GNPC and the Ministry of Energy in completing the new Petroleum Agreement which will allow the partnership to continue the aggressive exploration of the Cape Three Points Deep Water block.”

Vanco is a leading deepwater independent with activity in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and the Ukrainian Black Sea.

——–

Added March 5:

Dzata 1 oil well is within Ghana’s boundary – Vanco Oil

The Chief Operating Officer of Vanco Limited, J.L Mitchell, operators of the Dzata- 1 Well, located offshore Ghana, in the Tano basin of the Cape three points Deep Water Block, has told Citi News that their block is well within the maritime boundaries of Ghana.

According to him, Vanco has no concern at all over reports that neighboring Ivory Coast is making claims for some parts of Ghana’s maritime Boundary.

The Dzata 1 discovery is the latest in addition to the Jubilee and other oilfields where significant hydrocarbons have been found.

There are speculations that the Dzata 1 discovery which is close to the Ivory Coast boundary may be a contributory factor to Cote D’Ivoire’s claims.

But Mr Mitchell told Citi News from his base in the US that that may not be the case since the Dzata Well is over 200 kilometers away from Ghana’s maritime boundary with cote-d’Ivoire.

“It’s very far; 200 kilometres away from the maritime boundaries and it doesn’t affect us one way or the other…It is well within the Ghanaian maritime boundary,” he said.

Meanwhile, Security Analyst Dr Kwesi Aning says Ghana must take a firm stance as it seeks to enter negotiations with the Ivorians and desist from using the humanitarian approach.

“More often than not, when these problems arise, there is a certain naivety on the Ghanaian side, a certain humanitarian approach, saying we are all brothers and all that – we are not brothers”.

“The Ivorians have a rationale choice attitude to this, they have made their calculations and they are willing to push this demand as far as possible to get what they want and I think it’s crucial that this bill is passed under the certificate of urgency and hopefully, the team that will be put together should be a bi-partisan group of technical experts with the requisite knowledge to ensure that this issue does not become a problem.” He told Citi FM.

He hinted that the Ivorians are better structured and coordinated; making them miles ahead of Ghana as far as the struggle for the demarcation is concerned

He, therefore, advised Government to ensure the passage of the law immediately and provide the requisite resources for a bi-partisan group to promote Ghana’s interest in the matter.

Dr Aning warned that if the right steps are not taken to deal with the situation immediately, Ghana and Ivory Coast may replicate the conflict that ensued between Nigeria and Cameroun over the Bakassi peninsula.

France may support Ivory Coast in Dzata oil debacle – Fellow
By Citifmonline.com | Fri 05th March, 2010 12:55 GMT

A Fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs, Dr Ken Ahorsu says the current scramble between Ghana and its neighbor Ivory Coast over the Dzata oil well is not irresolvable.

He has warned however that the French Government could support Ivory Coast against Ghana in the eventuality that the issue blows up beyond the sub-region.

He says the situation could be handled satisfactorily to avert a repeat of the Bakassi Peninsula incident as pertained between Cameroon and Nigeria.

Dr Ahorsu told Citi News that the African Union must first come into the fray before the matter is taken to other international platforms if possible. Ivory Coast has already made a complaint to the UN laying claim to the Dzata well discovered by Vanco oil recently in the Cape Three point fields.

“Ghana really has to do its home work because the Francophone countries have a very firm supporter in France. If you follow the court ruling of the Bakassi Penninsula between Nigeria and Cameroon, internationally everybody believed that France had a huge role to play that influenced the final outcome.

“I don’t want to suspect but I have this uneasy feeling that Ivory Coast might have started stirring the International waters, given the knowledge that they believe they have a supporter in the International system but…I have looked at it from the internet, I have looked at where the new oil is found by Vanco and I don’t think it’s within Ivorian waters.” He said.

According to him, the Government of Ghana has done the right thing by putting together a Border Commission to deal with the issue. Dr Ahorsu believes delimitation of the maritime boundaries between the two countries should not be a difficult task to carry out.

Vanco Ghana dismisses threat to Ghana’s find
Story by Fiifi Koomson/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Petroleum exploration firm, Vanco Ghana Limited, has dismissed suggestions that its oil field in the Western Region is at the centre of a possible boundary dispute between Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

The company says its oilfield, known as Gyata 1, is so far away from the maritime boundary between the two countries that it cannot be the subject of any dispute.

Country manger of Vanco Limited, Kofi Afenu, says the Ivorian authorities are only seeking negotiations with Ghana over the Jubilee oilfield, which is owned by Kosmos.

Several miles away

“The distance between the boundary line and then the Gyata 1 well is more than 200 miles…quite far,” Mr Afenu told Joy News’ Sammy Darko.

The Vanco country manager is amazed at news making the rounds in some sections of the media that Ivorian authorities are demanding portions of Ghana’s oilfield.

According to him, the closest well to the Ivorian border is the Jubilee field which is some 60 miles away.

Under no circumstance will Ivory Coast lay claim to the Gyata 1 well which is several miles away, Mr Afenu indicated.

Confusion

The media may have blown the issue out of proportion or perhaps the minister sent the wrong impression to Ghanaians that Ivory Coast is demanding a portion of Ghana’s oil fields.

The facts as discovered by the Myjoyonline.com indicate the Ivorian authorities are only calling for a negotiation of the maritime border between the two countries.

La Cote d’Ivoire has not laid claim to any portion of Ghana’s maritime space, authorities indicate.

Meanwhile, Parliament is expected to quickly deliberate on a bill that would establish a boundary commission to negotiate Ghana’s maritime boundaries with Ivory Coast and other neighbouring countries.

The Ghana Boundaries Commission Bill has been sent to Parliament under a certificate of urgency, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Collins Dauda has said.

“A National Boundaries Commission will be put in place that would engage our neighbours in La Cote d’Ivoire with a view of negotiating our maritime boundary between ourselves and our brothers in Ivory Coast,” Mr Dauda said.

A map of the area in contention shows no part of Ghana’s oil field is in danger of a seizure.

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